From Junior Tour to the ATP World Tour with Andrew Fenty
Andrew is a 17-year old American player. He has all the strengths and weaknesses you might expect of a teenager! What makes him different is his passion for tennis and his dream to become a top level professional player.
DREAM VS REALITY
Everyone wants to play big matches on a center court in front of thousands of fans and be the one lifting up the trophy at the end of it all.
No one likes training hard on cold and windy winter days, pushing yourself to the limit in the gym when your friends are out having fun or listening to your coach’s speech after messing up in the 3rd set.
WELCOME TO ANDREW’S WORLD!
He spends nearly all of his time studying, traveling for tournaments and training in College Park, MD at the Junior Tennis Center of Champion (JTCC), home of American players Frances TIAFOE and Denis KUDLA.
The kind of schedule most kids would struggle to cope with!
IS IT WORTH IT FIGHTING SO HARD?
Tough question….If you think about it, there is only one winner at each tournament as opposed to many other players coming home feeling frustrated, disappointed or ashamed for breaking a racquet on court.
…That’s an interesting topic, but not for now
For Andrew, the answer is easy. Well as easy as it can be for a 17-year old boy, with no self-imposed limitations or fear.
On the day of the interview, Andrew was at the Citi Open ATP 500 event in Washington D.C. serving as a hitting partner for some of the top ranked players in the world.
DESCRIBE THE EXPERIENCE OF BEING A HITTING PARTNER AT A TOP LEVEL PRO EVENT LIKE THE CITI OPEN
It is so much fun but also a lot of hard work. I have had an amazing experience thanks to learning from being on the court with top players and watching their matches. The opportunity to “live” the tournament from the inside makes it special and I now have a much better understanding about what life on the tour means and how everything works.
There is definitely a little bit of pressure when I’m out on the court with one of the pros but I love it. I was a little nervous at first, but I’m gradually doing better and better, enjoying this unique opportunity and really try to soak it all in.
BEST MEMORY ON THE TOURNAMENT?
A long practice with Donald YOUNG on Sunday. He didn’t start the tournament until Monday and wanted to have an intense session on court.
I’ve always been a big fan of his. Tecnifibre organized the session a few weeks ago and I have to say both Donald and his mother were really welcoming towards me. It was great to be on the court with them and my coach. A really memorable experience for me!
I think I did pretty well until he killed me in the final tiebreaker!
He won his first round the next day in a tough three set match so I’m proud of that. It makes you feel that you’re a small part of his success!
HOW WILL YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT EXPERIENCE?
It was an experience that I will never forget. For the first time in my career I hit with top pros such as Lucas Pouille and Donald Young. It gives me extra motivation and confidence that I will need to approach what’s coming next!!
I’m ready to fight hard.
WHAT IS COMING NEXT?
In the first instance it is back to reality as I have lots of school work to complete before flying to Kalamazoo in Michigan for the Boys’ 18s USTA Hard Court Nationals. It is a big event for US junior players and the winner receives a wildcard into the main draw of the US Open! I would love to have that opportunity!! However I will definitely be at the Open competing in the juniors. It will be my first time playing at Flushing Meadows and I can’t wait!
HOW’S THE JUNIOR TOUR?
It’s very competitive but that is what you live for as a tennis player of my age. Tough competition at the Junior Grand Slam level is something that most kids don’t get to experience. I’ve been playing in top tier ITF junior tournaments for about a year and a half working to get my ranking up with the aim of being able to play in the junior slams.
This year I’ve attained that goal by playing in the French Open and Wimbledon and as I said I will be at the US Open in a few weeks!
ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH YOUR SEASON?
Sure, but it’s not enough. I can do a lot more but I know it is all part of a long learning process.
There are good days when you win and you feel like you’re Roger Federer but there also also bad days where you just don’t want to play or you’re tired and the ball feels like a rock on your racquet. My coach always tells me that these are the best days to improve your game because you need to learn that you can still win while you’re playing badly…
It isn’t all about traveling to Europe and living the dream. The feeling of disappointment you get after losing a match is even worse when you are abroad because it feels like you haven’t made the most of a lot of sacrifices. I still have to improve every day because I’m not good enough at organizing my time with school work, practice session and fitness training.
But there is no doubt that all the effort is worth it!